William Lloyd Garrison

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William Lloyd Garrison (December 12, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United States. Garrison was also a prominent voice for the women's suffrage movement.


Early life

William Lloyd Garrison was born on December 12, 1805, in Newburyport, Massachusetts,[1] the son of immigrants from the province of New Brunswick, Canada. Under the Seaman’s Protection act, Abijah Garrison, a merchant sailing pilot and master, had obtained American papers and moved his family to Newburyport in 1806 . With the impact of the Congressional Embargo Act of 1807 on commercial shipping, the elder Garrison became unemployed and deserted the family in 1808. Garrison's mother, Frances Maria Lloyd, was reported to have been tall, charming and of a strong religious character. At her request, Garrison was known by his middle name, Lloyd. She died in 1823, in the town of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Garrison sold homemade lemonade and candy as a youth, and also delivered wood to help support the family. In 1819, at fourteen, Garrison began working as an apprentice compositor for the Newburyport Herald. He soon began writing articles, often under the pseudonym Aristides, taking the name of an Athenian statesman and general known as “the Just.” After his apprenticeship ended, he and a young printer named Isaac Knapp bought their own newspaper, the short lived Free Press. One of their regular contributors was poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. In this early work as a small town newspaper writer, Garrison acquired skills he would later use as a nationally known writer, speaker and newspaper publisher. In 1828, he was appointed editor of the National Philanthropist in Boston, Massachusetts, the first American journal to promote legally mandated temperance.

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